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Ascent of White Pine Azimuth Mark on 2018-08-12

Climber: Eric Morrill

Date:Sunday, August 12, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:White Pine Azimuth Mark
    Location:USA-Nevada
    Elevation:11245 ft / 3427 m

Ascent Trip Report

(copy of my report for Grant Range 11028)

With Lucia Pacca and Robert Morrill.

Road:

In the afternoon of August 11, we drove up Scofield Canyon, past a point where the road becomes 4-wheel, until the road ultimately merged with a very washed-out stream, the result of extensive erosion after the fire 5 years ago or so. This was at approximately 6500 feet elevation, at a point where a temporary fire road veered up the right wall of the canyon onto the ridge. We took that road up, exploratively, and drove until it ended abruptly at a cliff. If we were to hike up this canyon again, we might start from the top of this spur, the fire road, which is a few hundred feet higher in elevation and perhaps a half-mile towards Troy on the ridge, but this time we drove back to the canyon and parked where the road became impassible in the canyon itself, since we didn't know if there would be cliffs blocking our access to Scofield. (During the hike, we concluded there were good places to get from the North ridge down to Scofield, and would recommend this route to others, despite not having taken it ourselves.)

The hike up Scofield was bleak, with severe burn areas, heavy Russian Thistle and Cheatgrass, and very deeply washed-out sections of stream bed/road. We stuck to the road when it was visible and not washed-out, otherwise walked in the deep stream bed or the brush when the stream was too tangled with protruding roots or waterfalls. This was particularly challenging for Bob and me, since we'd last been here before the burn when we climbed Troy, and it was just beautiful (and the road went way further up).

Eventually, after about 2 miles, the road becomes visible and rises to the right of the stream, at which point it is fairly good walking up past a small, burned metal cabin, then the Wilderness boundary, identifiable only by the presence of a shining aluminium sign with the print burned off of it. Cheatgrass and Tumbleweed continue periodically.

Once at the final fork in Scofield, near a giant cave or rockshelter to the North, we opted to take the right fork, heading into the branch of the canyon between "11028" and the ridge towards Troy, where we set up camp close to the fork, despite the canyon being steep enough that it was hard to find satisfactory places to pitch tents.

The following morning, realizing we had not brought enough water, and suspecting that "Bear Trap Springs" might be dry (and was quite off our planned route), Bob graciously agreed to hike out nearly without water, while Lucia and I took the rest of the H20 and bagged the peak. We scrambled a brief stretch of gravel up to the ridge between the two final forks of Scofield canyon, arriving on the ridge above the cliff in which that ridge terminates at the final fork of Scofield (i.e., it would not be comfortable to take that ridge directly from its beginning, since it's a cliff). After that lowest cliff, however, the ridge was walkable, with some stony portions. Evidence of nature returning abounded, with some small 1-4 year old trees and plentiful gooseberry. The giant Pondorosa pine that once stood proudly in the valley leading to Troy (i.e., right fork Scofield) was visible from the ridge as a massive, blackened trunk, and I thought that, were it legal, I'd have loved to reseed a Ponderosa there - but it's a wilderness area.

Gaining the final ridge, between Troy and 11028 (quite close to 11028), we foolishly decided to head for Troy, since Lucia had yet to climb it, but found the ridgeline was regularly interrupted by cliffs that required descending and ascending, and only made it half way when it started to hail and rain strongly, and lightning became visible in Scofield Canyon. At that point, we were on "White Pine Azimuth Mark," and we decided to turn around, making haste to 11028, which was the main target of our trip.

Walking the ridge to the top of 11028 was a hands-in-pocket process once we got back to where our first ridge connected with the main 11028-Troy ridge. On top of 11028, it was cold and windy, and the hail persisted, so we hastily signed the peak register and then headed down. Our plan was to take a loop, descending along the ridge to the south-east of 11028 and passing near "Bear Trap Springs" to check it out for viability. However, since time was lacking, we took this ridge only most of the way to Bear Trap Springs, then bailed down a seasonal water course (well to the East of cliffs separating Scofield Cyn from the BearTrap-11028 Ridge, which we had observed from "White Pine Azimuth"). This led to left-fork (i.e., main) Scofield Canyon, which proved better walking than the right fork which in which we had camped, and which we followed down until the fork and our campsite. Hastily packing up our tents, the rain stopped, and we hiked out on the eroded road, partially in the dark.

Were we to do this trip again, we would likely take the left fork of Scofield when hiking in, and travel up the ridge to the south-east of 11028 all the way to the peak, rather than doing a loop. The grade on that ridge was very nice, and it was more treed - a walk in the park.
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